January 25, 2012
The Beauty of Romantic Love
“Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely,” (Song of Songs 2;14 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Aren’t you glad that God refers to the Church as the Bride of Christ? I asked my husband what pictures come into his mind when he reads God’s description of the Church as the Bride of Christ. He gave me a strange look and said, “none, really.” I’ll admit, I can’t picture Steve walking down the aisle in a flowing wedding gown, but oh sister, I can see myself dressed in a satin and lace, pearl-studded gown with a flowing veil, and walking down the aisle of heaven to meet Jesus—my heavenly Bridegroom. Can’t you? What glorious imagery God has given to His female image bearers.
Perhaps one of the most romantic books in the Bible is the Song of Songs, or as some translations title it, The Song of Solomon. While it can be read as King Solomon’s wooing the Shulammite woman working in the fields, many theologians, including Augustine, Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon, Hudson Taylor, and at least one gal from the South, see it as an allegory of Jesus wooing the heart of His Bride.
I have been like the Shulammite woman who questioned God’s pursuit. She felt unworthy of her suitor’s advances. “Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun,” she cried (Song of Songs 1:6). Her hands were stained from tending her brothers’ vineyard. Her skin was burnt by the blazing sun. Her feet were calloused from walking bare on hardened ground. But the king looked past all the outward signs of a hard-lived life, and saw only her beauty.
When I first read those words through the lens of Jesus pursuing me, tears filled my eyes. And yet, the tears were not for the Shulammite woman. The tears were for myself.
I grew up in a home riddled with cyclical bursts of physical violence and constant emotional turmoil. My father drank very heavily and my parents fought, both verbally and physically, in front of me. Many nights I went to bed, pulled the covers up around my chin, and prayed that I would hurry up and go to sleep to shut out the noise of the yelling, screaming, and arguing in the next room. My parents were so wrapped up in their own problems, they were unsure how to show love to their children. I lived in a beautiful house and all my physical needs were cared for. But my heart was hungry for something I couldn’t define. An undercurrent of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy ran through my entire existence and became the window through which I viewed my little world.
From my earliest remembrance, I felt that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. Looking back through my scrapbook of photos, I was actually a cute little girl. However, when someone feels ugly, the mirror on the wall somehow bypasses the reflection in the glass and goes right to the heart. No wonder my daddy doesn’t love me, I thought on many occasions.
And yet, the King spied me in the fields and wooed me. Through a two-year courtship, Jesus pursued my adolescent heart until I finally stopped shunning His advances and allowed myself to be caught. “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me.” Every girl’s dream.
There are many different types of love: motherly love, friendship love, patriotic love, and a host of other shades and varieties. But romantic love brings with it colors and hues that are specific and unique to every other on the spectrum of emotions. Lovers are consumed with ways to make each other happy. They long for together times and feel a sense of loss when apart. Lovers are willing to sacrifice just about anything to be together. They lie awake at night dreaming up ways to make the other happy. An embrace. A kiss. A word. A look. Each of these ordinary movements between friends or acquaintances becomes rapturous between lovers. How lovely that God has chosen romantic love to describe how He feels about you. And what He really desires is for you to express that love in return in an intimate relationship.
Jesus, I honestly don’t know what you saw in me, but I’m so glad You thought I was worth pursuing. I do love You so. Thank You for pursuing me and catching me in your love net. I am captivated by Your love.
In Your Name, Amen
Now It’s Your Turn
Look up the following verses in the Song of Songs and envision Jesus saying the words to you!
Song of Songs 1:9,15; 2:2,14; 4:1-7
More than the love story between a woman who felt unworthy of attention and a man captivated by her beauty—the Song of Songs is a beautiful picture of Jesus wooing and winning His Bride…you. You have captured Jesus’ attention just as surely as the Shulammite maiden captured the young King’s who eyed her in the fields.
More from the Girlfriends
Have you ever felt like you weren’t smart enough, pretty enough, or just not good enough? Well, God thinks differently. If you would like to learn how to have the confidence of a woman who knows she is deeply loved, completely forgiven and powerfully equipped to do all God has called her to do, then Sharon’s book, I’m Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves,is the book for you. Begin seeing yourself as God sees you and leave those lies behind.
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